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East Greenwich High School Library: Primary Sources - U.S.

A list of clubs who have websites at East Greenwich High School.

U.S. History Web Sources - All time periods

U.S. History

BEST OF HISTORY WEBSITES - The best history websites from all eras chosen by experts

American Memory Collection - American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music from the collections of the Library of Congress and other institutions.  It is a digital record of American history and creativity.  EASIER TO BROWSE: You can go directly to the PRIMARY SOURCE SETS which groups documents by subject.

National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) - Historical documents, images and more.

CIA Freedom of Information Act - The CIA has established this site to provide the public with an overview of access to CIA information, including electronic access to  previously released documents. Because of CIA's need to comply with the national security laws of the United States, some documents or parts of documents cannot be released to the public.


The Vault -The FBI has opened it's digital archive!
"The Vault is our new electronic reading room, containing more than 3,000 documents that have been scanned from paper into digital copies so you can read them in the comfort of your home or office."
Searchable and far-ranging, this archive will be a rich resource for historical research using primary sources.

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers - This site allows you to search and view newspaper pages from 1880-1922 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present.

EDSITEment - The Best of the Humanities on the Web from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Very rich source of links, photos and additional materials.

POTUS(Presidents of the United States) - Historical documents, audio and video files, election results and more.


Presidential Libraries - National Archive portal for all U.S. Presidential Libraries.

Access GPO (U.S. Government Printing Office) - Core documents of U.S. Democracy.

Amdocs - Documents for the study of American history.

Chronology of U.S. Historical Documents

Source Documents in American History

100 Milestone Documents of American History
A document history of social justice, civil rights, equity, peace, and activism. Uncover the history of anti-racism, suffrage, the gay rights movement, labor activism, and other movements through historic speeches, song lyrics, poetry, essays, and other documentary artifacts related to social justice.

American Rhetoric - Database of and index to 5000+ full text, audio and video versions of public speeches, sermons, legal proceedings, lectures, debates, interviews, other recorded media events, and a declaration or two.


Immigration Challenges for New Americans - From the Library of Congress. The resources in this primary source set are intended for classroom use. If your use will be beyond a single classroom, please review the copyright and fair use guidelines.


Political Cartoons

Dr. Seuss Went to War - A catalog of political cartoons.

Herblock's History - Political Cartoons from the Crash to the Millennium


Thanks to Robin Cicchetti, Librarian at Concord Carlisle High School,  for sharing her primary source collection with us.

What is a primary source?




  •    LETTERS
  •    MEMOIRS
  •    LEGAL TESTIMONY BY A WITNESS  (but the Lawyer's summation to the jury would be a secondary source, since it interprets the testimony of the eyewitness)





  •     CONTEMPORARY NEWSPAPER ARTICLES (Newspapers can be tricky!  An article from a contemporary paper may be considered a secondary source as it is a   reinterpretation of events.  Your teacher may have assignment guidelines that will help you determine whether a news story can be used as a primary source).


Sources from Founding to 1900

From Revolution to Reconstruction & What Happened Afterwards. An index on the primary sources and transcripts.

Archiving Early America - Primary source material from the 18th century.

African American Perspectives - Pamphlets from the Daniel A.P. Murray Collection, 1818 - 1907 (Library of Congress).

African-American Women's History - Online archival collection. Images of African-Americans From the 19th Century - A selection of Visual Resources

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database - Information on almost 35,000 slaving voyages that forcibly embarked over 100 million Africans for transport to the Americas between the 16th and 19th centuries.

Digital Library of American Slavery - The Digital Library offers a searchable database of detailed personal information about slaves, slaveholders, and free people of color. Designed as a tool for scholars, historians, teachers, students, genealogists, and interested citizens, the site provides access to information gathered and analyzed over an eighteen-year period from petitions to southern legislatures and country courts filed between 1775 and 1867 in the fifteen slaveholding states in the United States and the District of Columbia.

Voyages Database - The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database comprises nearly 35,000 individual slaving expeditions between 1514 and 1866. Records of the voyages have been found in archives and libraries throughout the Atlantic world. They provide information about vessels, enslaved peoples, slave traders and owners, and trading routes. A variable (Source) cites the records for each voyage in the database. Other variables enable users to search for information about a particular voyage or group of voyages. The website provides full interactive capability to analyze the data and report results in the form of statistical tables, graphs, maps, or on a timeline.

Excerpts from Slave Narratives - First hand narratives of people directly involved in the slave trade as slavers, shipping agents, and the enslaved.

The Slave Rebellion Website - This site is worth checking as it covers the under-documented examples of enslaved Africans fighting for freedom. There are excellent primary sources, maps, a population database and slave records.

Civil War

The Civil War - Watch the Civil War unfold on the pages of Original Harper's Weekly Newspapers. Harper's Weekly was the most popular newspaper during the Civil War, and it featured stunning illustrations, and in depth stories on all the important people and events of the war. Presently 1861 through 1864 are completed, and the 1865 issues through May are complete.

American Civil War Resources - Diaries, letters, papers.

Civil War Women - Diaries, letters, photographs, prints.

Hospital Sketches: An Army Nurse's True Account of her Experiences During the Civil War, by Louisa Alcott. This links to the Google eBook of this primary source account of Alcott's experiences.


Women's Suffrage

Women's Suffrage - Primary source material from the Library of Congress.

World War I
World War I Document Archive - Treaties, official papers, diaries, remembrances.


World War I Memoirs and Remembrances

WWI Virtual Trench Tour - This virtual tour doesn't really qualify as a primary source, but it is interesting and has good links to legitimate primary sources.

BBC - World War I - Six films that show students' artifacts and images of a British soldier's life during WWI. Films are sequenced starting with recruitment to life in the trenches and ending with information on injuries and shell shock.

Propaganda Postcards of the Great War The site features a collection of war-themed postal cards produced during World War 1 (1914 - 1919). Some 1,400 cards are displayed in an organized fashion. The cards are mementos of a world at war during the second decade of the 20th century.

First World War Poetry Digital Archive -
The First World War Poetry Digital Archive is an online repository of over 7000 items of text, images, audio, and video for teaching, learning, and research. The heart of the archive consists of collections of highly valued primary material from major poets of the period, including Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg, Robert Graves, Vera Brittain, and Edward Thomas. This is supplemented by a comprehensive range of multimedia artifacts from the Imperial War Museum, a separate archive of over 6,500 items contributed by the general public, and a set of specially developed educational resources. These educational resources include an exciting new exhibition in the three-dimensional virtual world Second Life. Freely available to the public as well as the educational community, the First World War Poetry Digital Archive is a significant resource for studying the First World War and the literature it inspired.

World War II

Navy Department Communiques and Pertinent Press Releases

National Archive World War II Records

Powers of Persuasion - Poster Art from WWII

BBC Film Council

BBC Film Council has made available "a fabulous trove of CC-licensed, downloadable 'cultural propaganda' videos commissioned during WWII"

German Propaganda Archive - Der Giftpilz, the German word for toadstool, was a publication of Julius Streicher's publishing house. It was aimed particularly at kids, and was sometimes used in schools. In each case, the caption under the picture is translated to the right. In several cases, there is a link to a translation of the story that accompanied the picture.

Vietnam War

Vietnam Online - Primary sources from PBS: American Experience.

Documents Relating to American Foreign Policy in Vietnam

Teaching with Documents: The war in Vietnam - a story in photographs - The war in Vietnam has been described as the war America watched from their living rooms. Images of combat and American GIs were projected through our TV screens and across our newspapers daily. During the war in Vietnam, the American military gave the press unprecedented freedom of access to combat zones. This allowed newspaper reporters and photographers and television crews to document a war involving American sons and daughters on the other side of the world. This willingness to allow documentation of the war was also extended to the military's own photographers. This is an extensive archive of primary source material.

Vietnam 35 Years Later - April 30th, 2010, was the 35th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War, and Tuesday, May 4th, 2010, was the 40th anniversary of the shooting of protesting students at Kent State University. The Vietnam War and America's involvement in it affected the lives of millions for well over a decade, exacting a massive human cost with millions of deaths and countless injuries - both physical and mental - that plague many of those involved to this day. U.S. military involvement & troop strength grew rapidly after 1964 - at its highest level in 1968, with over 500,000 troops on the ground. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. now bears the engraved names of 58,267 of those troops. It's nearly impossible to encapsulate an event of such scale in a handful of photographs, but here, 35 years after the end of the conflict, is my attempt. Alan Taylor.

The Cold WarMaking the History of 1989 - The Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe.


Kennedy Assassination